SK Capital Announces Control Investment In AEB Group
Represents the Seventh Portfolio Company in SK Capital’s Fund III
Brescia, Italy – March 19, 2015 — SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling interest in AEB Group, a global leader in wine ingredients with growing positions in beer ingredients and food detergents. SK Capital’s majority ownership will be acquired via a capital increase to deleverage the Company’s balance sheet and a purchase of shares from existing investors including Investindustrial, one of Europe’s leading investment groups focused on Southern European companies. Investindustrial and AEB Group management will have minority ownership positions after the transaction.
AEB Group provides an integrated suite of products and related services – including a full spectrum of biotechnology solutions, processing aids, and specialized equipment – for winemakers, beer brewers, and other food and beverage producers. The Company’s customers utilize AEB Group’s proprietary formulations, customized in consultation with the Company’s sales force of oenologists and technical experts, to achieve consistent quality levels with optimal yields. AEB Group holds market leading positions in several of the top wine producing countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Argentina, and South Africa and the Company has been rapidly penetrating the growing wine ingredient markets in the United States, Germany, Chile, and Australia. Headquartered in Brescia, Italy, AEB Group operates a network of production facilities and laboratories throughout Europe and the Americas.
Aaron Davenport, a Managing Director of SK Capital, noted, “AEB Group is a niche market leader with similarities to our other investments in ingredient, additives, and solution services companies, including a combination of market reach and access, product development and customization capabilities, and customer intimacy. We are excited to partner with Investindustrial to support management’s strategic objectives with additional capital and resources.”
Philip Marxen, a Principal of SK Capital, noted, “AEB Group has consistently grown its share of the wine ingredients niche, which is characterized by long-term relationships with a fragmented customer base and products which are critical to winemaking yet represent a small portion of the cost and value of wine. We believe there are opportunities to accelerate growth and drive operational improvement through investments in people, processes, and facilities as well as add-on acquisitions to expand distribution and strengthen the product portfolio.”
Mario Tomasoni, AEB Group’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are excited to partner with SK Capital, an industry-focused investor with a track record of successfully supporting management teams in the development of higher performing businesses. We look forward to this next phase of AEB Group’s growth which will benefit from a more flexible capital structure and active engagement with SK Capital.”
The transaction was directly negotiated between the parties. Latham & Watkins and Bär & Karrer acted as legal counsel to SK Capital and Chiomenti Studio Legale acted as legal counsel to Investindustrial in the transaction. UniCredit S.p.A. acted as M&A advisor to SK Capital. BNP Paribas, Italian Branch and UniCredit provided committed debt financing for the transaction as Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners and were advised by White & Case as legal counsel. UniCredit also acted as Agent with respect to the financing.
AEB Group is the seventh platform company in SK Capital Partners Fund III. SK Capital Partners closed on its fourth fund in November 2014 with $1 billion of third party capital.
About SK Capital
SK Capital is a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors. SK Capital’s integrated, multi-disciplinary team utilizes its industry, operating and investment experience to help transform businesses into higher performing organizations. Located in New York, NY and Boca Raton, FL, the firm has over $1.5 billion in third party capital under management. SK Capital’s portfolio companies generate revenues of over $8.0 billion annually and employ approximately 9,000 people. More information about SK Capital can be found at www.skcapitalpartners.com.
Investindustrial is a leading European investment group of independently managed companies with approximately €3.1 billion of assets under management in the private equity division, which provides industrial solutions and capital to mid-market companies in Europe. Its mission is to actively contribute to the development of the companies in which it invests, by creating growth opportunities and offering global solutions through an entrepreneurial pan-European vision. Investindustrial has a history of more than 20 years of successfully partnering with companies in Europe. Additional information is available at www.investindustrial.com.
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